“Even if Apple Inc. never made an actual move to buy Time Warner Inc., a tentative approach shows that the iPhone maker is serious about getting into media content,” Jing Cao and Gerry Smith report for Bloomberg.

“Eddy Cue, who’s in charge of iTunes and Apple Music, brought up the idea of a possible deal with Time Warner corporate strategy head Olaf Olafsson in a meeting late last year, according to a person familiar with the situation,” Cao and Smith report. “While the two never started negotiations, Time Warner, which owns HBO and the Warner Brothers studio, is on the top of the list of media companies Apple would buy should it eventually commit to the content business, the person said.”

“Apple has tried to break into television for years, but has faced a number of roadblocks in the content business. Talks with TV networks such as CBS Corp. and 21st Century Fox Inc. to license their content for a live television service fell apart last year.,” Cao and Smith report. “Apple was attempting to offer a Web package of the most popular channels for $40 a month — known as a ‘skinny bundle’ — which would cost about half of the average cable bill in the U.S. Late last year, CBS CEO Les Moonves said Apple put the plans for the service on hold. In the meantime, Apple has focused on building entertainment content for its set-top box, holding talks with media executives about obtaining exclusive shows for Apple TV.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: As we wrote back in January, “Apple should use their cash pile to create some much needed leverage to finally get their Apple TV subscription bundle(s) up and running even if all they do is flash their cash around.”

Apple’s “skinny bundle” will have to have ESPN. It will also likely require the “Big Four” networks.

What others networks should be considered to be must-haves? Beyond the Big Four, if you go by primetime ratings (total viewers), the top 20 U.S. cable networks are:

1. ESPN
2. Fox News Channel
2. USA
3. TBS
4. Disney
5. Discovery Channel
6. History Channel
7. TNT
8. HGTV
9. Nickelodeon
10. AMC
11. Adult Swim
12. FX
13. Cartoon Network
14. Food Channel
15. Lifetime
16. ABC Family
17. Syfy
18. TLC
19. Hallmark
20. Investigation Discovery

Source: Nielsen estimates, Live plus-3 for Dec. 29, 2014 – Dec. 16, 2015 (M-Su 8-11 p.m.)

SEE ALSO:
Apple contemplates dramatic push into media industry – May 26, 2016
Apple’s Eddy Cue proposed bid for Time Warner – May 26, 2016
Obviously, Apple could buy Time Warner, but they shouldn’t – January 14, 2016
Apple eyeing Time Warner assets to ease launch of a stand-alone streaming TV service – January 13, 2016